Saturday, March 26, 2016
I’ve been reading about the week between Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem:
On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. (John 12:12-13 KJV)
And Resurrection Sunday:
In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. (Matthew 28:1 KJV)
I’ve also been reading what I would consider a pilpul, a Hebrew word from the late nineteenth century meaning to “search or debate.” The question is – why “Good Friday” when the Bible tells us Jesus was three days in the tomb. No – I’m not going to get into that question now, nor am I going to talk about where the tomb used for His burial might be. There are a couple of candidates, and that debate continues, too. Those questions are for theologians who wish to know answers that are not readily available.
My focus is that Jesus was entombed the day of His death. The Gospel writers are specific that Jesus was crucified, died on the cross (Matthew 27:50, Mark 15:37, Luke 23:46, John 19:28-30) and was buried (Matthew 27:57-61, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42).
On that Sabbath following the crucifixion, there is no doubt He was in the borrowed grave. Matthew tells us that those who called for His death were aware of His prophecies – and it worried them:
Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. (Matthew 27:62-64 KJV)
That last bit is somewhat telling: “the last error shall be worse than the first.” At least someone was aware that Jesus’ death was an error – and that His resurrection would be worse. Especially for the Sadducees, who did not believe in eternal life, but they are not mentioned here. It’s the Pharisees who are concerned that Jesus resurrection – whether real or perceived – would be an error worse than his death.
That first day of the week is what I celebrate each Sunday with a congregation that sings praises for God’s great gift – the son that caused John the Baptist to boldly state:
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29 KJV)
That includes mine! What a beautiful celebration it is each Sunday – but this one tomorrow is the annual celebration, the most focused of each year. It was the completion of the promise of Christmas, where angels proclaimed:
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11 KJV)
It is the answer to the jailer’s question:
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31 KJV)